Background:
It was in 1996 when ATS started to realize that Lesotho was left behind with regard to scientific and technological exploration. There was no mention of science communication. In general, the public lacked awareness on the importance of Science and Technology (S&T) in economic, socio and political development; for example the golden opportunities offered by S&T. The importance of science and technology in development was poorly understood and appreciated by the public. Public debate, participation and dialogue were limited. Radio, television, and newspaper coverage were limited. No one published regular newspapers articles on S&T. Debate on science and technology was absent from development forums and radio and television programmes. It was hard to find science writers, documentalists, investigators and commentators in Lesotho.

Objective:
In order to ascertain the extent to which science communication was, several organizations (including university, technical institutions, government departments, associations, schools, interest groups etc) were asked the following questions: First. how many times per year was the local media used to publicize S&T news? Second, what were the latest inventions? Third, how much funding was devoted for Research and Development (R&D)? Four, how many people were engaged in R&D projects/programmes? Five, what was basis for awarding scholarships? Six, what training programmes were implemented? Seven, what was the number of the students to be trained per field determined? Eight, what were the criteria used for determining the intake of the students?

Methods:

The following methods were used to assess the situation:

1. Structured questions;

2. Observations;

3. Physical inspections and;

4. Feeling and listening to technological process.

The following channels were used to address the situation:

1. Radio programmes;

2. Television programme;

3. News bulletin for radio, television and newspapers;

4. Mobile outreach programme;

5. Face to face interaction with the public;

6. Exhibitions and awards;

7. Site tours;

8. Print media;

9. Famo and jazz lyrics;

10. Poems and;

11. Special and traumatic days.

Results:
When we started in 1996, we were not aware of the real situation on the ground. Our situation analysis revealed serious shortfalls which has been drastically and systematicallyaddressed. The situation has improved from worst to better. Tangible and significant results have been achieved. Understanding and appreciation to some extend has been secured. There is general buy‐in at large. Anchoring of science, technology and entrepreneurial culture has started to take its course.

Conclusions:
Conclusion is drawn for a small and land locked developing countries such as Lesotho which may not have a comprehensive and cohesive national system of innovation (including Agency for Advancement of Science and Technology).

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

Infusion of Science and Technology from ground up
11 year empowerment experience accumulated in Lesotho (1996 ‐ 2007)

Denis Phakisi   Appropriate Technology Services (ATS)

Background:
It was in 1996 when ATS started to realize that Lesotho was left behind with regard to scientific and technological exploration. There was no mention of science communication. In general, the public lacked awareness on the importance of Science and Technology (S&T) in economic, socio and political development; for example the golden opportunities offered by S&T. The importance of science and technology in development was poorly understood and appreciated by the public. Public debate, participation and dialogue were limited. Radio, television, and newspaper coverage were limited. No one published regular newspapers articles on S&T. Debate on science and technology was absent from development forums and radio and television programmes. It was hard to find science writers, documentalists, investigators and commentators in Lesotho.

Objective:
In order to ascertain the extent to which science communication was, several organizations (including university, technical institutions, government departments, associations, schools, interest groups etc) were asked the following questions: First. how many times per year was the local media used to publicize S&T news? Second, what were the latest inventions? Third, how much funding was devoted for Research and Development (R&D)? Four, how many people were engaged in R&D projects/programmes? Five, what was basis for awarding scholarships? Six, what training programmes were implemented? Seven, what was the number of the students to be trained per field determined? Eight, what were the criteria used for determining the intake of the students?

Methods:

The following methods were used to assess the situation:

1. Structured questions;

2. Observations;

3. Physical inspections and;

4. Feeling and listening to technological process.

The following channels were used to address the situation:

1. Radio programmes;

2. Television programme;

3. News bulletin for radio, television and newspapers;

4. Mobile outreach programme;

5. Face to face interaction with the public;

6. Exhibitions and awards;

7. Site tours;

8. Print media;

9. Famo and jazz lyrics;

10. Poems and;

11. Special and traumatic days.

Results:
When we started in 1996, we were not aware of the real situation on the ground. Our situation analysis revealed serious shortfalls which has been drastically and systematicallyaddressed. The situation has improved from worst to better. Tangible and significant results have been achieved. Understanding and appreciation to some extend has been secured. There is general buy‐in at large. Anchoring of science, technology and entrepreneurial culture has started to take its course.

Conclusions:
Conclusion is drawn for a small and land locked developing countries such as Lesotho which may not have a comprehensive and cohesive national system of innovation (including Agency for Advancement of Science and Technology).

A copy of the full paper has not yet been submitted.

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